On Saturday, locals will have a chance to send donated canned food to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank through the U.S. Postal Service.

It's the one time of year Ashlanders can send heavy parcels through the mail without postage.

On Saturday, locals will have a chance to send donated canned food to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank through the U.S. Postal Service. Letter carriers will pick up bags of food left near mailboxes and deliver them to the food bank.

Donations from the annual Postal Letter Carriers' Drive, the food bank's biggest donation event, typically last the nonprofit two months.

This year, as the recession sweeps more locals through the food bank's doors, the nonprofit is especially in need of contributions from community members, said Ann Marie Hutson, president of the food bank.

"As for records, each month shows a definite increase (this year) from the year before," she said.

In April the food bank served 962 Ashland and Talent residents, 44 percent more than the same month last year, Hutson said.

Although the number of food bank recipients has decreased slightly since January — likely because more people have signed up for food stamps — a significant number of community members still rely on the nonprofit, Hutson said. In the first three days of this month, the food bank served 174 people, she said.

Ashland residents should receive a grocery bag in their mailboxes this week, which they can fill up and leave in or near their mailboxes on Saturday. Letter carriers will pick up the bags on their regular Saturday routes.

As many as 100 volunteers will help unload the postal trucks full of food and sort it at the Ashland Street nonprofit. Students from the Ashland Institute of Massage will give back massages to postal workers and volunteers from 2 to 6 p.m. at the food bank.

For more information on the drive, contact the food bank by calling 261-5700.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.